Australia NT power bosses axed after Alice blackout

02:18  09 december  2019
02:18  09 december  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The heads of two Northern Territory power companies have been axed following an inquiry into a major blackout in Alice Springs in October.© AAP Images The heads of two Northern Territory power companies have been axed following an inquiry into a major blackout in Alice Springs in October.

The chiefs of two Northern Territory power companies have lost their jobs after an investigation into a major blackout in Alice Springs.

The NT Government set up the independent investigation after the October 13 power outage. It found the outage was the result of a combination of equipment failure and human error.

Following the investigation, the government has told both the Power and Water Corporation and Territory Generation it no longer had confidence in their chief executive officers.

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David Brown has been appointed acting CEO of Territory Generation and Djuna Pollard the acting head of the Power and Water Corporation while a recruitment process is undertaken to fill the roles on a permanent basis.

"The system-wide power outage that occurred on 13 October was simply unacceptable. The people of Alice Springs deserve much better," Energy Minister Dale Wakefield said on Monday.

"That's why the government has acted swiftly and decisively to ensure similar incidents don't occur again."

The blackout took out most of the Alice Springs area with some properties without electricity for more than eight hours.

However, critical infrastructure, including the Alice Springs Hospital, was brought back online within 30 minutes.

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It was the third "system black" event in the town since January 2015 and the ninth blackout over that period to impact 5000 or more customers.

The government's investigation found that while the technical issues were complex, there was an unacceptably low level of preparedness by the Power and Water Corporation and Territory Generation to respond to major system events.

The report makes 15 recommendations to improve procedures, load management and demand forecasting.

It also calls for the ageing Ron Goodin Power Station to be maintained in a state that could allow it to restart the Alice Springs network should another blackout occur.

At the time of the October outage, the Electrical Trades Union questioned Territory Generation's handling of the transition of supply from the Ron Goodin station to the new Owen Springs Power Station.

"The guys on the front line live and breathe this stuff and they have been saying for months that Ron Goodin Power Station was prematurely closed and that Owen Springs was not adequately tested to ensure continuity of supply," union organiser Dave Hayes said at the time.

The independent report also noted that an unforeseen reduction in output from solar generation due to cloud had placed additional demand on Owen Springs before the blackout.

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